In the heart of America’s Second Dust Bowl, amid drought and raging heat, Isobel Walsh weaves a web to survive.
There is a strange new girl at Happy Hearts.
The strange new girl says strange new things.
“Daddy’s ashes. Mommy’s ashes. Sissy and Buddy both fell down,” she says.
“There’s something wrong with Isobel,” they all say.
Isobel has behaved, though. She hasn’t hurt anyone since she arrived. She hurt many before she arrived, but so have all those here. They’re murder babies, parent killers. Happy Hearts is a homeless shelter for little girls and boys who never grew up.
“Play with me. I like games,” Isobel says.
So the residents play her games. She makes them jump. She makes them dance. She makes them laugh, and she makes them cry. They think they’re winning, but nobody wins Isobel’s games. It’s fun for her. They pretend it’s fun for them, too.
Yes, Isobel Walsh is a strange new girl in a strange new world saying strange new things. Though she’s more gun than girl, more weapon than woman, twenty-five years old in a world made of clay.
CONTENT WARNING: GIRL OF DUST AND SMOKE is a disturbing novella intended for mature audiences, including murder, death, violence, sex, incest, rape, sexual assault, underage sex, child abuse, and prostitution. This list is not comprehensive. Please read at your own risk.